WWE: 5 Superstars Who Are Next in Line for a Big Push
If you're not a wrestling fan, it's a simple word that means the opposite of pull. If you are a wrestling fan, it's that little four-letter word that you apply to a wrestler who's being booked well by the creative team.
As we all know, a push is often what creates a star. A push is what helped John Cena, Randy Orton and Sheamus rise to the top of the WWE, and it's what could be taking Ryback there soon, too.
Pushes happen all the time, but if you watch the WWE on a consistent basis, then you know which stars are likely to get one and which ones, well, aren't.
While some stars who we don't expect to get one may surprise us and do just that, others who we think are bound to be big-time stars fade away into oblivion.
But some guys are destined to be top-level superstars, and barring something unforeseen happening, that's exactly what they'll become.
Here are the 5 WWE superstars who are next in line for a massive push.
Note: You won't find someone like Ryback on this list because he seems to already be in the midst of a major push. Similarly, you win't find the top guys (John Cena, Sheamus, CM Punk, etc.) on this list because odds are they've already gotten or are getting their biggest pushes ever. Generally speaking, this list is reserved for guys who have never gotten that massive push up to this point in their careers.
5. Cody Rhodes
There's been a lot of frustration over what's been going on with Cody Rhodes.
Many wrestling fans can see that the guy is extremely talented, so it's come as a bit of a shock to them that he hasn't won a World title yet and, in fact, has only teetered on the borderline of the main event scene a few times.
But patience is the key here, guys and gals. Rhodes is still only 27 years old, and all of his physical tools almost ensure that he'll break out and become a major player in the WWE in the not-so-distant future.
In fact, I think Rhodes is right on the cusp of becoming really special. He's already been on the main roster for more than five years and has made tremendous strides since his days as a rather generic babyface rookie.
I'd argue that Rhodes, at 27, has arguably the brightest future of anyone on the WWE roster. Yet at the same time, he's already one of its most skilled all-around performers.
He's well above average in just about every category you can think of, and he has the name to go along with it. I know many of you thought he'd be a bigger star by now, but let's just be a little patient.
Rhodes is a top candidate for a Money in the Bank win next year and a push to the main event scene. Thanks to his new-found partnership with Damien Sandow, that may actually happen sooner rather than later, too.
4. Antonio Cesaro
Antonio Cesaro is one of those rare talents who entered the WWE with a ton of expectations on his shoulders.
When working as "Claudio Castagnoli" on the indy scene and in Ring of Honor, Cesaro established himself as one of the best non-WWE stars in the business and built up a bit of a cult following as a result. Along with that cult following comes a tremendous amount of pressure, though.
The widespread expectation is that Cesaro will become a star, but at 31, he doesn't have as much to time to do that as some others might. Still, I think he'll prove to be a case of talent winning out over any age concerns.
And apparently, so do those within the WWE.
According to PWInsider.com (via WrestlingInc.com), "WWE officials are very high on United States Champion Antonio Cesaro. WWE feels they will make a lot of money off Cesaro in the future so expect his push to continue."
Obviously, that's a good sign for Cesaro, who hasn't been around the WWE all that long, but he seems to have the full support of the creative team. That was already apparent when Cesaro won the United States Championship not all that long after his debut, but I think it will become even more apparent in 2013 when he takes that step to the next level.
With management behind him and a cult following behind him as well, all Cesaro needs to do is deliver in the ring. Needless to say, anyone who watched him in his pre-WWE days knows that he will.
3. Damien Sandow
We've heard it for months now: Damien Sandow has a lot of backstage supporters in the WWE.
Like many others, I've been a fan of Sandow's since day one, but I wasn't sure just how quickly he'd rise up the ranks of the WWE. But after watching his excellent match with Sheamus on last week's Raw, I have no doubt that he's going to become a top star quicker than most.
In just a short time on the main roster, Sandow has already showed that he's the total package. He has the look, he's great on the mic, he can wrestle and, perhaps most importantly, he has a gimmick that is unlike anyone else's in the WWE or all of mainstream pro wrestling for that matter.
Sandow is destined for stardom. It's a matter of when, not if he becomes a main-eventer and a World champion.
Although he's in a wildly entertaining tag team with Cody Rhodes right now, I think that will ultimately prove to be a pretty short-term pairing, with Sandow quickly parting ways with Rhodes in order to get elevated to the next level.
I'd say that early next year, Sandow will be in the World title mix, with him already looking like a dark-horse candidate to win the 2012 Royal Rumble. Yes, I think he's that good.
His time is coming, but he's only been on the main roster for about six months now. There's no need to rush it.
2. Wade Barrett
Wade Barrett was on the cusp of stardom earlier this year when an unfortunate elbow injury temporarily put those plans on hold. Notice that I said temporarily.
Though that injury was a big setback for Barrett, I think it's almost a certainty that he finds himself in the main event scene in the immediate future.
While I'm extremely disappointed that the WWE brought him back from injury by having him squash lower-card workers rather than give him an actual storyline, that should ultimately prove to be a minor bump in the road. Barrett will be a World title contender, and he will be one soon.
After all, Barrett was reportedly in line for a massive push earlier this year, and though plans can certainly change, it seems much more likely that those plans were delayed just a little bit.
Barrett has the look of a main event star and is fantastic on the mic, two qualities that should reestablish him as a top guy whenever the creative team decides to give him an actual storyline. That should happen in the near future, with Barrett looking like a possible feud option for Sheamus.
I don't know exactly what will go down with Barrett, but as someone who's proven to be capable of working as a top-level heel, he should be one again. Soon. Very soon.
1. Dolph Ziggler
Dolph Ziggler has worked with a lot of top stars in 2012, feuding with the likes of CM Punk, Randy Orton, Chris Jericho and, to a lesser extent, Sheamus.
The WWE obviously has a ton of faith in him as a heel who can have a good match with anyone, but up to this point, he's only served as someone to beat for those guys I've mentioned. Yet in Jericho-like fashion, he's one of those stars who continues to look good, even in defeat.
Even though Ziggler consistently loses, he's still viewed as a fantastic wrestler and a top heel, and of course, he still has one fantastic tool at his disposal: the Money in the Bank briefcase.
As long as "The Showoff" is holding onto that coveted briefcase, he's one step away from his first real World title reign in the WWE. Yeah, he's been a World champion before, but that reign lasted less than 15 minutes.
Ziggler's next World title reign will be his first legitimate one, and it will help establish him as a full-time main event-level heel who helps carry the WWE for the next few years.
I thought that Ziggler would have cashed in his MITB briefcase by now, but since he hasn't, he remains the closest thing to a breakout star that there is in the WWE.
Ziggler should cash in that title shot soon (like really soon), and when he does, he will get a real push that allows him to do more than just make the top babyfaces look good.
Drake Oz is a WWE Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter!